DYING: Reborn PSVR + Standard Edition Review

DYING: Reborn

Since launch, PlayStation VR has enjoyed a good selection of horror titles that really showcase how the genre works in this new format. In fact, horror in general as enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in recent years, and as a horror gaming fan, I couldn’t be happier. Today we’ve got a 2-part review for DYING: Reborn.

I’ll be assigning a separate score to the PSVR and standard versions since they have some major differences. As it stands, you can buy both separately, or a bundle will be available with the Vita version. So, let’s see if this game breathes new life into the “escape the room” genre, or if it should have stayed dead.

DYING: Reborn Standard Edition Review - I Want to Play a Game

DYING: Reborn takes major inspiration from the Saw series of movies, going so far as to entice fans of the movies in the game’s store description. The setup is similar. You play as Matthew who has been captured by some kind of psychopath while looking for his missing sister, Shirley.

The game’s first impression is a little rough. The voice acting ranges from decent on the villain’s part, to downright cringe-worthy performances from the other characters. I personally thought the campy acting worked in the same way it worked in the old House of the Dead games, but it definitely robs the atmosphere by breaking the immersion.

In addition to rough voice work, DYING: Reborn also suffers from a slew of typos and errors in the game’s text. Whether it’s on a loading screen, or the description of an item in your inventory, you’ll come across more errors than you should ever see in a finished game.

I imagine this could be a translation issue, but it’s so rampant that I felt it was worth mentioning in the review. Moving past these presentation flaws, the game does have a nice graphical style and detail to the environments.

They are the kind you would expect, ranging from a prison cell type of room, to the interior of a bar, to a creepy kitchen. It’s standard horror fare, but the game shows its unique side when you start solving puzzles.

There are some serious head-scratchers in here, and while the logic didn’t always completely connect for me, there were plenty of worthwhile brainteasers to enjoy here. The standard version of the game stretches across six levels total and can take about six to eight hours to finish, depending on how quickly you solve the puzzles.

The story is intriguing enough to keep you playing, and the puzzles require some intense thinking and problem solving to get through. It doesn’t rewrite the “escape the room” genre, nor does it do anything crazy new, but it’s not bad by any means.

I enjoyed the fact that DYING: Reborn made you think outside the box with its puzzles. There were times when I didn't know I could interact with something as it wasn't obvious, and this slowed me down more than I would have liked, but this wasn't a constant issue.

The shaky presentation may put you off, but if you’re craving a puzzle game in this vein, the standard version should scratch that itch for you.

Final Score: 6.5/10

DYING: Reborn VR Review - Missing Pieces

DYING: Reborn

The PlayStation VR version of DYING: Reborn is a different story. I knew going into it, that this version was an abbreviated experience that uses three levels from the main game that the developer felt would work best in VR. They make this very obvious in the store page, so there’s no suspicious activity going on here, you’re told that this version is three levels.

It’s also half the price of the standard edition, so there’s that, but the issue I take with this approach is the fact that more was cut from the game than three levels. It’s a hard sell when you’re only getting half the game in VR, but to make matters worse, DYING: Reborn’s VR version strips out almost all of the story.

While it’s not the greatest story ever told, someone who plays the VR version only will probably feel extremely lost throughout. There’s really no resolution either. It honestly feels like a demo for the full game.

I would have been fine with three levels, if the story was still told to the player, but this simply feels like a demo that doesn’t want to spoil the full game. That being said, the VR experience was nice.

On PS4 Pro, the graphics were crisp and the detail in VR was very good. The lack of interactivity with the environments is more pronounced in VR since you want to pick up everything, but can only interact with specific items.

It worked fine for me, but I was still shocked at how much of the game and the story was stripped out of the VR version. Honestly, if you’re going to play this game, you should just get the standard version, or get the VR version with the standard.

The upcoming bundle with the Vita version could be a fair compromise, but as it stands, simply playing the VR version amounts to paying for a demo of the full experience, and not the route I would recommend.

VR version final score: 5.0/10

A copy of DYING: Reborn standard and VR editions were provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes

Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 3/13/17

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